Eckford - the name stems from the oak ford* - lies on either bank of the River Teviot and on its tributary, the Kale Water. Much of its history must have developed because of the rivers. In ancient days, passage by water was likely. In modern days, the valleys are formed by the main roads. The ford is no longer in use and the oaks which gave Eckford its name have gone.
A peaceful valley now - gracious, well farmed, well wooded, the countryside not flat but gently undulating, this area has seen all the social changes that history has known. The earliest knowledge of it, from the Early Bronze Age, would indicate that settlements existed here as early as 1800 B.C.There are several articles preserved in the Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh which were in common uses in domestic sites The Beaker found in a grave on Wester Wooden showed that our early forefathers came from the Rhineland and as this Beaker is not a first generation effort, the settlement may have been prolonged.
The art of husbandry is shown too by the hoard found at Easter Wooden. Belonging to the Early Iron Age, these tools and equipment are associated with the farm or the craftsman’s shop. Odd fragments of tools might have been a pointer to the presence of warriors, but these came to us later from over the Border.
The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were the most turbulent times. Fire and sword, invasion and counter-invasion destroyed the township that had grown up in the shelter of the Towers. Moss Tower, one of the strongest keeps or towers in the Borders, could only be approached from the northern side by a raised causeway and the other three sides were under water or marsh The tower fell in 1523 and was rebuilt and destroyed twice more. Eckford at that time must have been a considerable township, but with the changing order in agriculture, fewer and fewer houses remained.
From the statistical records, it is impossible to assess the number of houses left in the village by the middle of the nineteenth century, but the listed trades of 1861 record two grocers, a blacksmith, a hook-dresser, a joiner and no fewer than three tailors and a dressmaker. In contrast, by 1966, and indeed for some years, there has been no shop of any kind.
* It is suggested that the name Eckford does not come from Oak-ford but actually means ford by the church. The book "Place- Names of Scotland" by James B. Johnston 2nd Ed. 1903 gives the name as Eckeforde in 1200 and Hecford in 1220. The prefix Ecc is from the Latin ecclesia meaning church. Other Scottish examples are Ecclefechan meaning Church of St Fechan and Eccles meaning church. Eccles was shown as Hecles in 1297 (compare with Eckford being called Hecford in 1220). Eckford is therefore Ford by the Church. (Thank you to Fiona Sutherland for this information).